Telling The Difference
It’s like taking the Pepsi Challenge all over again
Anyone who is old enough surely did the same thing as me and mates back in the 70s and the 80s, as we imitated everything we saw and read. The ‘Pepsi Challenge’ had us all believing that not only was it almost impossible to find a difference in the taste between the two major cola brands, Pepsi and Coke, but that if you took a blind taste test, you’d be more than likely to pick the newer kid on the block (Pepsi), than the established brand leader (Coke). The TV ads showed died-in-the-wool Coke drinkers being ‘shocked’ as they swore they knew which one was the Coke, only to pull off their blindfold and find they’d chosen the Pepsi as their favourite.
I’m the only one in my family who uses skim milk (let’s not argue about the pro’s and con’s here, please). My wife barely drinks any milk at all, and the only child left in our house swears by the full cream stuff, drinking it by the gallon. Each night when I’m on cup of tea duty, I’d top up his Twining’s with a dab of skim instead of ‘his’ milk. He didn’t ever notice the difference, so I fessed up (and apologised) about the deception, but as expected he hadn’t been able to tell the difference at all.
I always get a kick out of the people who arc up about drinking a ‘regular’ beer. You know, one that would be considered a working man’s beer. Some would call them beer snobs. Hand them a can of straight-down-the-line beer, or shout them a schooner of it and they’re likely to say “I’m drinking that S%#*”. Just like the Pepsi challenge though, I’d defy anyone (even those beer snobs) to be able to tell the difference between one and the other of all the ‘regular’ Aussie beers after they’ve had three or four. In fact, we once hoodwinked a mate by tipping our regular beer into a posh bottle and he didn’t pick it up.
Some things just wouldn’t pass the Pepsi challenge, though. The two biggies that come to mind quickly are coffee and meat. I’m also willing to stretch that to wine in many cases (but not all, as the $8 wines often win gold at the competitions). I firmly believe our local meats are waaaay better than what comes in from other places. Sometimes it’s in the preparation and cooking, but if what you start with isn’t top shelf, then you’re up against it before you even hit the barbie. I was recently at a function where the only option was freeze-dried coffee granules. I wouldn’t have considered myself to be a coffee snob, but …Ugh. I wouldn’t fall for the Pepsi challenge if it came to a barista prepared cup versus a teaspoon of dried pellets, I’m thinking.
It’s been ‘Beatles Month’ in our house, with each of the old CD’s from the Beatles 13 album collection getting a run whilst we had our family dinners over the school holidays. Our youngest (soon to fly the coop) is having great trouble distinguishing between the voices of Paul McCartney and John Lennon in many of the songs. He was able to pick Ringo doing Octopus’ Garden and Yellow Sub pretty quickly, but knowing that John sang The Walrus and Strawberry Fields versus Paul belting out Hey Jude or Blackbird proved a little more difficult. I played While My Guitar Gently Weeps for him so he could nut out what George sounded like, but each of the other songs from Please Please Me in ’63 through to Let It Be in ’70 was the absolute best kind-of Pepsi Challenge. We’ll keep this one going.